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Kaikoura rail work 'enormous': KiwiRail

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/12/2016

KiwiRail can't say how long it will take to fix the rail line north and south of Kaikoura but will look for some temporary measures in the meantime.

The government has announced it will spend up to $2 billion on restoring State Highway 1 and the rail line decimated by the November earthquake, noting it should take about 12 months to make the road usable.

KiwiRail offered no such timeframe when the funding was announced on Thursday.

Work, in conjunction with roading efforts, would begin straight away but it would be complex.

"Even without any other unforeseen events, this is an enormous job. We have 21 tunnels, 80 bridges, and a lot of twisted or broken track to fix," said chief executive Peter Reidy.

"Safety is always our number one concern and so we won't rush the necessary measures that need to be taken but we will be working intelligently at speed."

KiwiRail would look for temporary fixes in some parts of the line to allow for restricted, freight-only rail services while the permanent road and rail lines are completed, he said.

Slip identification technology would allow drivers to navigate areas safely while permanent repairs were being carried out, he said.

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